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Posted on: February 7, 2017

Ozarks workforce leaders release third annual regional workforce survey results Feb. 15

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

Springfield, Missouri, Feb. 16, 2017 - Over 300 local workforce professionals attended the third annual MOmentum: State of the Workforce Luncheon, hosted Feb. 15 by the Ozark Region Workforce Development Board and Missouri Job Center. In addition to discussing the survey findings, attendees listened to and participated in a keynote presentation by Springfield Public Schools' Dr. John Jungmann and a panel discussion of six area students.

Director of Workforce Development for the City of Springfield said, "Superintendent Dr. John Jungmann and the GO CAPS students left us feeling positive about the issues concerning employers. As an education system, SPS gets it; they understand they have to provide options to their students to ensure life long learning. More than half of the employers that participated in our survey plan to hire over the next 3-5 years; however, we still have work to do to better prepare our workforce. We are grateful we have the infrastructure and partnerships in place to enhance economic development efforts in our region."

Dr. Jungmann's presentation emphasized the importance of partnerships among business and education. Being able to offer students relevant experiences is critical for them to be prepared to enter the workforce/higher education. SPS currently has a number of great business partners, but there is always a need for more to be able to provide opportunities for all students in a wide variety of work environments.

Survey highlights

According to the survey, the occupational fields that organizations are most likely to emphasize in their hiring decisions over the next five-to-ten years are business, management, and administration followed by marketing, sales, and service. These have been the top two occupational fields identified over the past three surveys.

Many businesses are planning on expanding: 45% of organizations plan to hire additional full-time employees over the next 12 months — up noticeably from the previous two survey years, and 55% of organizations plan to hire additional full-time employees over the next three-to-five years — up from 47% last year.

A majority of survey respondents – 72% – reported having difficulty filing positions over the past 12 months – up from 59% last year – with healthcare organizations having the most difficulty in finding qualified applicants (85%). Organizations facing difficulty in finding qualified applicants were most likely to respond by increasing their recruiting efforts within the region (59%) or not filling the job opening (35%) — the same top two responses as last year.

Low number of applicants, lack of good communication skills (written, verbal, and nonverbal), lack of relevant technical or occupational skills, and lack of relevant work experience were the job applicant deficiencies of greatest concern to employers (each mentioned by more than 45% of survey respondents as significant barriers to hiring) — same as in previous survey years.

Similar to previous survey findings, more than 85% of respondents indicated that “most” or “some” of their current employees needed improvement in the areas of time management, leadership, problem solving, critical and creative thinking, interpersonal relations, and work ethics/habits.

A majority of survey respondents – 72% – reported that at least some of their jobs/positions require employees to have a background in science, technology, engineering or mathematics — up from 67% last year.

38% of the organizations surveyed said they were currently working with area schools (high school, community colleges, universities) to design curriculum, develop training programs, and/or sponsor an apprenticeship program so students acquire the skills necessary to succeed in their industry — up from 29% last year. Of those not currently partnering with area schools, between 15% and 23% were “very interested” in sponsoring an apprenticeship program with area schools — up from last year, and between 18% and 23% were “very interested” in working with area schools to design curriculum/training programs — up from previous years.

The executive summary, full survey results, employer comments, and presentation materials are available at www.springfieldmo.gov/MOmentum.

About the survey

Results from the 2017 State of the Workforce Survey are based on 576 completed online surveys of businesses, nonprofit organizations, government, and educational institutions within the seven-county Ozark Region (Greene, Taney, Christian, Webster, Polk, Dallas and Stone).

The majority of organizations participating in the survey were for-profit (55%), followed by nonprofit/community-based organizations (13%), governmental entities (12%), educational institutions (10%), and healthcare (10%). Fifty percent of participating organizations have fewer than 50 employees (full-time and part-time), 24% have between 50 and 199 employees and 26% have 200 or more employees. Organizations range in size from one employee to 20,600 employees.

Survey results have a +/- 4% margin of error at the 95% confidence interval. With assistance from the WDB and Missouri Job Center, the survey was designed, administered and analyzed by Opinion Research Specialists LLC of Springfield.

Contact Communications Coordinator Megan Short at 417-841-3386 or mshort@springfieldmo.gov with any questions regarding the survey or event. The Executive Summary of the survey and full results are also available online.

Visit the Job Center's Web site.
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